In a room full of cheering automotive service technicians and career navigators, three young menwere given the opportunity to put pen to paper and take a big step in their professional journey. There was a palpable sense of excitement as well as relief as Jeff Klein, Service and Parts Director at Champion Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Indianapolis, handed them their offer letters. After seeing these young men put in the hard work and effort over the past week, Klein and his team offered encouragement, wisdom and importantly, a chance to join their team.
These three young men, along with several students participating at Ed Martin Buick GMC, each completed a weeklong Automotive Service Technician Training through YES Indy. These Industry Trainings provide students with the opportunity to gain valuable experience in a specific industry, build a foundation and work towards earning an employment offer. Since July 2020, roughly 45 individuals have completed one of the four Industry Trainings regularly offered by YES Indy: Automotive Service Technician Training, Construction Level-1 Generalist Training, Salesforce Administrator Training and Logistics Warehouse Associate Training.
“I loved it. I learned how to change oil, tires, brakes, and filters. My tech was good at answering my questions and I learned a lot.” said Marcus Lewis, a YES Indy participant who spent his time training at Champion Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram.
“We’re very excited about what they’ve learned with us.” Said Kathy Cameron, Director of Fixed Operations at Ed Martin Buick GMC. YES Indy partners Champion Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram and Ed Martin Buick GMC, both located on Indy’s North side, are passionate about providing young people with the opportunity to explore new career fields and better themselves. “Tommie worked with two different automotive techs, with one being a GM World Class tech. Not many achieve that level.” Continued Cameron as she stood smiling next to Tommie, who had impressed during his week of training at Ed Martin Buick GMC. Thanks to his hard work and diligence, Tommie also received an offer of employment after completing his Industry Training.
Through a partnership between YES Indy, Flanner House of Indianapolis, Marian University and Nine13sports, participants not only had the opportunity to join the Automotive Service Technician Training, but also received several weeks of job readiness training, education support and career navigation through Flanner House programming. “Their growth in such a quick time frame is amazing. It’s wonderful to be able to put together a program where they can explore a new career field and make it into something that can sustain them for life.” Said Sibeko Jywanza, Director of Food Justice for Flanner House of Indianapolis.
Through the YES Indy Power Huddle, young persons are provided the tools to develop important employability and life skills as well as earn two Job Ready Indy badges: Mindsets and Social Skills. Both the YES Indy Power Huddle and YES Indy Industry Trainings are available for Marion County youth ages 16 – 24 who are not attending high school or college.
9 March 2021 – Indianapolis – Today launches the fifth year of the Project Indy Youth Jobs initiative. Through the Project Indy digital job search platform, thousands of Indianapolis young people are connected to jobs each year. This tool is used as a resource by over 100 employers as they seek to fill their full-time and part-time positions and youth as they look for employment, particularly during the summer months. As with all other things, this initiative and the young people it supports have seen the repercussions of the COVID-19 impact.
In 2020 over 32% of young adults 16-24 were employed in the hospitality and tourism industry – one that has suffered greatly from the pandemic. While this is felt globally, Indianapolis particularly struggled with a large portion of the local economy relying on the success of those industries.
“Project Indy has been incredibly successful over the past five years, connecting young people with jobs and skill-building opportunities in industries across Indianapolis,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “This year, Project Indy will be a part of our city’s economic comeback from the pandemic, boosting our hospitality and tourism workforces and contributing to overall job growth. And it will help employers as well, as young workers are exposed to new career paths in our city’s core industries. It truly is a win-win.”
Project Indy is a location-based, job search platform connecting young adults to local employers. With a large majority of the hospitality industry traditionally staffed by youth and young adults, major sporting events like the ones Indianapolis will host this March provide opportunities for youth to not only make money, but to obtain important job skills that will help them be successful as they progress through the workforce.
“Indianapolis is fortunate to be hosting upcoming basketball tournaments on the national stage,” said Department of Tourism, Event and Sports Management Chair at IUPUI, Brian Krohn. “Not only will the buzz positively impact our economy, there will also be many part-time jobs now available for young workers to assist with the influx of visitors and our hope that this will provide the opportunity for many of our local businesses to open their doors again.”
In Indianapolis, sports and events have always been tools to drive economic growth – and the tournaments will be no exception.
“Events like GenCon, FDIC, and now March Madness, held at the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium are often considered to be what defines Indianapolis. I’ve always maintained that it’s the people behind events like these that make our city great,” said Andy Mallon, Executive Director, Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium. “By hiring through Project Indy, employers in all different industries, including hospitality, have the opportunity to invest in the next generation of young ambassadors for Indianapolis.”
By offering jobs throughout Indianapolis, Project Indy will be able to service events like those taking place this month. As youth are gainfully employed, they learn additional skills that will help them as they progress through their career.
“The ongoing impact of hiring a young person goes far beyond the day-to-day job responsibilities. What they learn will influence who they are as a person, how they grow in their soft and hard skills, and what industries they choose to go into when they formally progress into the workforce,” said Angela Carr Klitzsch, President & CEO of EmployIndy. “This provides us as employers an opportunity to make what we know will be beneficial investments both short- and long-term as we impact someone today and arm them with the skills and knowledge to succeed in the future.”
Employers can sign up today to have their positions listed on the Project Indy job search platform at projectindy.net
The entire EmployIndy and YES Indy family mourns with the Indianapolis community after the loss of “Mr. Johnny” Purchase, a beloved mentor and community leader who helped shape the lives of so many young persons throughout our city. He was an active and dedicated member of both the YES Indy and Edna Martin Christian Center (EMCC) teams, providing mentorship and guidance to so many who participated in youth and family focused programming.
“He’s one of the most thoughtful men I know.” expressed Jamiah Banks, a YES Indy participant, in remembering the role that Mr. Johnny played in his life. “He did whatever he could to help others.” Jamiah also recalled memories of how Mr. Johnny would help him with his school work and regularly challenge him to 3-point shootout competitions in the basketball gym.
Mr. Johnny tragically lost his life on January 12, 2021 while out serving in the community, bringing hope to struggling families. When serving with YES Indy, Mr. Johnny was always faithful to reinforce YES Indy’s work by encouraging the young people around him to establish a vision for their life and achieve it. “Mentor, life-coach, motivator, professional, passionate, compassionate, committed, dependable, firm, fair, warm, steady. These are but a few of the adjectives that come to mind when I think of Johnny Purchase.” said Rev. Rodney T. Francis, Chief Programs Officer at EmployIndy. “Johnny epitomized the ideal Re-Engagement Facilitator. He had a unique way of reaching and connecting with Opportunity Youth. His impact was huge and his loss is a tremendous blow to our community.”
When Devonte Whitehead, a mentee of Mr. Johnny’s, received his forklift license, Mr. Johnny took him out to lunch to celebrate the accomplishment. “Everything he did, he did it with a purpose.” remembers Whitehead. “He would always have a smile on his face and if you were having a bad day, he could cheer you up by just looking at you.”
Mr. Johnny Purchase served as a Family Success Coach at the Edna Martin Christian Center (EMCC) where he had an “unyielding commitment to engender a vision of hope.” Lashawn Offett, a mentee of Mr. Johnny’s at EMCC, described him as a caring person who ultimately motivated him to go back to school to finish his diploma.
On behalf of all of the EmployIndy staff, we ask that you join us in lifting up the Purchase family, keeping them in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. If you would like to offer support in additional ways, details can be found on the family’s GoFundMe page: https://gofund.me/07a48022